Less than Half of Employers Offer New Parents Paid Leave, But This May Change

According to the WorldatWork paid parental leave survey, 38 percent of employers offer a defined paid parental leave benefit for use by new-parent employees to recover from the birth of a child and/or to care for or bond with a new child. This leave is distinct from all other paid leave programs and employees do not need to use or exhaust other paid time or earnings to use this benefit. The average time of paid parental leave allotted to eligible, full-time new-parent employees is 4.1 weeks.
WorldatWork says that this survey is unique in that it narrowly defines paid parental leave as being distinct from other paid leave programs, such as short term disability, sick time, government-funded disability or insurance payments, and general paid time off leave programs, including any programs that supplement partial pay. The survey was conducted by WorldatWork with underwriting support from Mercer.
"Paid parental leave is an emerging benefit," stated Lenny Sanicola, CCP, CBP, GRP, CEBS, senior practice leader at WorldatWork. "There are numerous splashy headlines in the news about paid leave, but these headlines can be misleading. This survey uses a strict definition so that we can really dig into what is being offered as true paid parental leave that goes above and beyond existing paid leave programs."
While this survey focused specifically on paid parental leave that is distinct from other leave benefits, the survey did ask all respondents about the prevalence of employer-sponsored disability programs and found that, a large majority of employers, 86% of respondents, offer employer-sponsored disability insurance that compensates birth mothers during their medical recovery.
Some of the key survey findings among the 38 percent of responding organizations that offer paid parental leave beyond the existing paid time off include:
  • 80 percent offer employees full/normal pay.


  • 78 percent offer paid parental leave to all employees, while 22 percent offer it to some.


  • 58 percent give the same amount of paid parental leave to all new-parent employees.


  • 64 percent are subject to at least one state/local paid parental leave requirement, 88 percent of these respondents offer more or expanded paid parental leave than required by law (longer duration, larger percentage of normal pay rate, broader set of new-parent circumstances, etc.).


  • 85 percent do not distinguish the amount of paid parental leave between primary or secondary caregivers.
"Providing paid leave has progressed from being a social issue to being a business imperative," said Pam Jeffords, partner at Mercer. "Employers are spending time and money to enhance their parental leave benefits for both parents because the results in the workplace are positive. Women, in particular, are better able to concentrate on returning to their careers, without immediate concern about child care, if their partner can take paid leave sequentially at the end of their own."
Source: Wolters Kluwer